Wednesday, June 20, 2012
We Need National Healthcare (And Dental Care) For All Citizens, Funded By Income Taxes.
We pretty much know the position of the right-wing on healthcare and every other issue. They want taxes paid by working people to be used for war and corporate subsidies, nothing else. They do not want any public services funded by taxes, which means get rid of public education, police, firefighters, transportation, airports, beaches. Sell off everything owned by the public, turn it over to hedge funds and private equity funds where the rich and the politicians they own amass their fortunes in secret, and let them charge citizens a dollar for a drink of water, fifty cents to drive on the freeway, a quarter to flush their toilets. We know this because we spend a lot of time looking at the right-wing.
What we should be doing is looking at the liberals, because that is the real problem. If they simply stood up for what is good and right, the right-wing would at least face a counter narrative. The refusal of democrats to stand up for the citizens is what caused this problem in the first place. Should we have a national healthcare (and dental care) for all citizens? Yes. How should it be funded? By a progressive system of taxation, just like all other basic services in a modern society. The failure of democrats to promote a system funded by our taxes is what has caused the current problems in the court.
Further, the democrats have failed to reform healthcare in the only way that was truly needed: cut the costs. Under the democrats' plan, people will still be sucked dry by the healthcare system while insurance companies, doctors, hospitals and drug companies make billions in obscene profits. The only thing the democrats did was force more impoverished citizens to turn their paychecks over to the Medical Industry, or face government-imposed fines.
If we had a national healthcare and dental care system for all citizens, funded like all social programs from our progressive income tax system, the government could then set prices and fees for medical care, eliminate much of the waste paid to the health insurance industry, and make healthcare reasonable and affordable. What is the effect of the individual mandate? 50 million Americans who are currently uninsured are ordered by the government to buy health insurance from a private supplier, in a for-profit market.
Let's say each pays $300/month, $3600/year. That is $180 Billion Dollars a year that the democrats have funneled into the Medical Industry to be divided up among the major players, some of the wealthiest people and businesses in our country: doctors, hospitals, drug companies, and insurance companies.
What would we say if Republicans passed a law to funnel $180 Billion into their pet industries every year, out of the pockets of already impoverished working people? Wouldn't we see that for what it is: a corrupt, disgusting misuse of power to further enrich private interests which presumably will pay enormous kick-backs to the democrats. Wouldn't you?
Why were these deals negotiated in secret, right from the outset? One of the first things Obama did was meet secretly with the leaders of the Medical Industry. He didn't meet with the citizens, didn't solicit our views. He met with the rich people, and asked them what they want.
We are told constantly that children with preexisting conditions can now buy insurance. The total number of people in the U.S. with preexisting conditions, from an insurance perspective, was estimated by the white house at around 12 million people. But not all of those are people who could not get insurance. Like me -- I had a back problem and had to pay 10% extra.
But even if all 12 million could not get insurance, 3% of the population, that is not a significant reform for the rest of us -- the 97%. It's just tinkering around the edges. "Allowing" parents to continue to pay for their kids' insurance once they're 21 is also not a big benefit, since kids don't cost much anyway, and the parents always could have just given the kids a check to buy their own insurance.
So instead of a true reform -- such as allowing people over 50 to buy into Medicare, people under 21, gradually embracing more groups -- instead we get a meaningless tiny reform which does not benefit most of us and, in any event, with respect to the individual mandate is unconstitutional. The federal government has no authority to order citizens to purchase goods or services from a private business. It's an absurd idea which should strike terror into the heart of anyone with a brain and I hope it is stricken.
If the individual mandate was upheld, the next government would order us to buy $1,000 worth of software for each kid in school (sold by a business which pays enormous bribes to the politicians), and anything else they want to force us to buy on the most absurd claims that the commerce clause allows it.
If the individual mandate is stricken, maybe the democrats will get real, or maybe not. But stop pretending they did something significant. My own premiums (self-employed) went from $340/month to $600/month in 2 years. Thanks for nothing Democrats.